School Start Up Tool Kit


Starting an international school requires a complex array of decisions, which begin at the early concept stage and cascade through to the ultimate opening of the school, and well beyond. For those just beginning to assess what is involved in starting a school, the ISS School Start Up Kit now available is filled with fact sheets and checklists, giving you an excellent, cost-effective starting point for your project.

Starting a school is an exciting, rewarding, but challenging undertaking. Your timeline will vary depending on your vision, location, and preparations, but it’s reasonable for you to assume a school start up project will take on average about 18-24 months once you’ve secured land, licenses, and financial support. The ISS School Start Up Tool Kit was specifically designed for those who are at the early stages of a project who wish to understand what is involved, prior to taking on larger financial investments. Featuring more than two dozen downloadable documents, ranging from fact sheets to templates to checklists, this starter kit gives you an introduction to some of the important insights necessary when creating an international school. See what’s inside the tool kit »

Additional Support is Available

The ISS Team is ready to support you further when you’re ready. In addition to the ISS School Start Up Tool Kit, ISS offers various levels of expert consulting and management operator contracts from advisory to full turn-key solutions. These various contracts provide deep assistance to entrepreneurs and future owners who must navigate an intricate set of considerations and implications throughout the entire process.


What is included in the kit:

The School Start Up Tool Kit contains 25 helpful documents in a variety of categories to help you understand some of the important decisions ahead and can assist you as you get started in this process. All 25 documents are easily downloaded from the secure link.


Launching a School: 12 Key Questions

Thinking of launching a new international school? Here are twelve key questions you have answered before you proceed. These questions will provide anyone contemplating launching a school with the information necessary to take their all-important first steps. The tools included in the ISS startup tool kit are designed to help answer many of those questions.

International School Classifications

What is an international school? There are actually many types of “international schools”. This document provides clear definitions and useful descriptors of their key characteristics.

SWOT Analysis for New School Projects

Many are familiar with the Strength-Weakness-Opportunity-Threat or SWOT analysis. This an effective way of assessing the feasibility of founding a new international school. What does a new school SWOT analysis look like? This tool provides key questions, perspectives, and examples used to consider strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with a new international school.

School Vision Checklist

Every start-up school project must have a vision to guide its development. This tool provides an extensive checklist that will guide the school’s developer through the complexities of launching, operating, and managing a school. The questions in this checklist trigger an exploration into the physical, academic, financial, and social ecosystems of the school and its culture.


Operations Budget Template

Every new school project should begin with the end in mind. This is especially true for school finances. This tool provides a budget template for the future school’s operation. The editable template (Excel file) is organized according to a common chart of accounts. The summary budget worksheet is linked to supporting worksheets for personnel expenses. A separate worksheet includes a useful list of budget term definitions.

Creating a 501(c)3 Foundation

There are many good reasons for creating a nonprofit foundation in the United States, typically referred to as a 501(c)3. Let us show you the benefits and value of an ISS-managed foundation.

Business Office Responsibilities

While the new school’s academic program must be the primary focus of the school developer, let’s not forget that part of the organization that supports the academic program – the school business office. This tool breaks the business office down into different departments each with its own responsibilities contributing to the success of the school.

School Audit Preparation

An external financial audit is a clear sign that a new school is becoming a mature institution. Such an audit provides clear benefits to the school’s board or ownership. It helps ensure that the school is following established financial policies and procedures, presents an unbiased view of the school finances, and provides recommendations that will increase the value of the school. This tool provides clear directions on how to prepare for an external financial audit.


The Different Roles of Governance and Management

Every international school organization operates most efficiently and beneficially when there are clearly stated roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders. The roles and responsibilities of those governing the school and those managing the school, in particular, can often be confused. This tool provides a clear comparison and contrast between the two roles that prevent this kind of confusion.

School Policies Summary

International schools are largely governed through approved policies. This tool provides overviews of policies common to international schools including those for school philosophy and purpose, instruction and curriculum, school organization and administration, students, general personnel, professional staff, classified staff (non-faculty), fiscal management, school community relations, and maintenance and operations.


Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment for your School

A modern international school must be furnished and equipped in keeping with enrollment, curriculum, and health and safety requirements. We know the process of selecting, purchasing, shipping, and installing all of the furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) necessary for a new school is complicated, time-consuming, and decision making that must adhere to tight timelines. This tool describes how the ISS FF&E Service can help open your new school with everything you need, on time and on budget.

Common Mistakes in the School Supply Process

Schools that take the time to set up and implement a comprehensive and systemic school supply process consistently realize savings in both time and money. This tool shares several common mistakes in the school supply process.

Maker Space Equipment Inventory

There has been a rising emphasis on international education on design. This has increased the demand for Maker Spaces or Fab Labs. These spaces are devised for design thinking, planning and the fabrication of objects using a variety of materials. The Maker Spaces are equipped with specialized equipment. This tool provides a typical Maker Space equipment inventory with links to vendors for the equipment.

School Supply Checklist

Would your school benefit from its own personal logistics chain for materials and supplies? This is our classic School Supply Checklist. Use this tool to assess your school’s supply inventory and learn how ISS School Supply can make procurement easy and cost-effective.

Recruiting and Human Resources

Student-Teacher Ratios

What is a student-teacher ratio and how does it factor into the development of a new international school? This tool defines the term “Student-Teacher Ratio” and explains how it is used to project professional staffing needs, estimate costs, and benchmark against other similar schools.

Head of School Job Description

This tool is a standard Head of School (or School Director) job description including responsibilities of the position and requisite qualifications, and knowledge and skills.

Teaching Assistant Job Description
Business Officer Job Description

These tools are a standard Teaching Assistant and Business Officer job description including the responsibilities of the position and requisite qualifications, and knowledge, and skills.

Faculty Contract Checklist

This provides a detailed list of information required for every standard teacher or administrator contract. Use this checklist to gather research on the local labor laws regarding contract requirements, including those that might apply to foreign workers.

Faculty Contract Template

Apply the information gathered using the Faculty Contract Checklist and draft your teacher or administrator contract using this comprehensive contract template.

Head of School Contract Template

This tool is a contract template for Heads of School (or School Directors or Superintendents) which usually includes additional benefit terms unique to heads of school. Apply the information gathered using the Faculty Contract Checklist and draft the Head of School contract using this comprehensive contract template.

Teaching and Learning

Education Term Glossary

Education has its own language and it can be pretty mystifying for those non-educators seeking to launch a new international school. This tool provides a comprehensive glossary of education terms that will help school developers navigate their way through the myriad of curriculum, instruction, and policy design decisions and more effectively communicate with professional educators.

Inquiry-Based Teaching & Learning

Most modern international schools rely on an inquiry-based teaching and learning model. What is inquiry-based teaching and learning? This tool provides a detailed description of this approach.

Choosing a Curriculum

One of the most important early decisions taken when launching a school is choosing the school’s curriculum. This tool provides a definition of curriculum, describes the most common international school curricula, and compares the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Launching a Boarding School

Many international schools are also boarding schools. This tool provides readers a background on the relative merits of a boarding program and best boarding practices.

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